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Speaker – George Kelling

The British acquired Cyprus for strategic reasons in 1888, and the island has provided a valuable strategic base up to this day. During World War II, Cyprus faced the danger of a German invasion. The loyalty of the Greek population on the island could not be taken for granted. According to the Governor: “Morale of the majority of Cypriots is at its lowest ebb. In event of invasion we can expect little help from [the Greek Cypriots] and some might even turn against us.” What was the British response to a situation that posed the danger of revolt from within and invasion without? The answer has a bearing on the war in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. George Kelling served in the army from 1958 to 1978. On retiring, he entered graduate school, earning a doctorate in history at the University of Texas in 1988, with a dissertation dealing with Cyprus in the period 1939–1955. He has had a second career as a civilian historian with the air force. He has maintained a vigorous interest in the history of the British Empire, particularly Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean, in World War II.

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